The Oakland A’s routed division rivals, the Texas Rangers, Monday night in the first of a three game series in Arlington, 7-2.
Willingham led the way for the offense with a three run bomb and five RBIs. The A’s tacked on two more totaling seven runs on the day, a refreshing surprise, and more than enough run support for Trevor Cahill. Cahill pitched another seven strong innings of one run ball and tallied seven strikeouts. He never had any scares throughout the game and had all his pitches working.
Cahill improves to an impressive 6-0 record with a 1.72 ERA, at an even better pace than his breakout year in 2010. Last year, Cahill was terrific, finishing with 18 wins and a 2.97 ERA. Many, however, pointed out that he was aided by pitching in Oakland, a notorious pitcher’s park, and doing so in front of one of the league’s best defenses. The expectation around the league was that Cahill might fall back down to earth in 2011.
In fact, it has been quite the opposite. Cahill has mowed down the competition in this early part of the season primarily because of his increase in strikeouts.
Last year, Cahill struck out 5.4 batters every nine innings. This year, that number is up to 7.74. That’s two more strikeouts every time he takes the mound.
So what’s different with this year’s version of the A’s ace?
Trevor Cahill has always had his dominating sinker ball. It’s the type of pitch that you can build a career on, with hitters’ inability to elevate it, creating an abundance of easy ground balls for the infielders.
But the pitch that is taking him to the next level is his breaking ball, a sharp curveball that gives him a true out pitch, something he was missing in the past.
In 2011, Cahill’s has been throwing the curve more often and, more importantly, for strikes. It keeps hitters honest, making the sinker all the more dangerous. He’s mixing his off-speed pitches much more effectively and and seems to be getting better and more confident with each start. It’s the difference between throwing and pitching.
Since starting last year on the DL and then in the minors, Trevor Cahill has put together quite the resume. He’s made an all-star team, finished in the top ten for the Cy Young award voting, started the Home Opener in 2011, and just signed a $30 million contract. Not bad for a 23 year old. And as well as he’s pitched, Cahill doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any time soon.
Tonight: A’s vs Rangers in Arlington.
Probables: Brett Anderson vs Colby Lewis
About the Author
Written by Josh Muller
My name is Josh Muller. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and currently live in San Francisco. I watch sports religiously and organize my calender year to coincide with baseball season. I'm a diehard A's and Warriors fan, love talking sports all day and believe that the words "Opening Day" are the two greatest in the English language.